View Full Version : This Time We Win: A word from James Robbins

03-06-2011, 02:21 PM
I vividly remember following news of the Tet offensive in 1968 and subsequently fell for virtually every element of the myth of Tet that Robbins exposes in this lucid, important book. The book thus rings a bell with me, as I suspect it will for many readers of this site. Robbins argues that the myth of Tet has lived on to do much damage. As soon as I read the book in galley proof, I invited Jim to write something that would allow us to draw it to the attention of our readers. He writes:

The 1968 Tet Offensive is remembered as a surprise attack by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces on symbolic targets in South Vietnam that turned American public opinion against the war and drove President Lyndon Johnson to the bargaining table. It is heralded as the turning point in the Vietnam War that ultimately led to the American withdrawal and victory of the communist forces.

For over forty years the myth of Tet has inspired America's adversaries as a model for achieving low-cost strategic victories, and has provided American commentators with a shorthand means of conjuring the specter of inevitable U.S. defeat. Whenever terrorists or insurgents lash out in dramatic fashion, regardless of how swiftly they are crushed, the Tet analogy is sure to follow. Whether it was the fighting in Fallujah, scattered Taliban attacks in Kabul, or Wikileaks' publication of 91,000 classified documents on the Afghan War, the American pundits' Tet reflex hands the enemy a roadmap to a low-cost route to victory.

Tet provides a ready story line to journalists and terrorists alike; but the problem is that it is not true.

The Tet Offensive Was Not a Surprise Attack

When the main Tet attacks kicked off on January 31, 1968, the Tet Offensive was quickly dubbed a "surprise" by the home front press who dogged the Johnson administration with questions about "intelligence failure." But Tet was not a surprise. Documents captured the previous November outlined the overall scheme of the attack, and the enemy plan had been briefed to journalists at the U.S. Embassy the first week in January. Three weeks before Tet kicked off, Army Lieutenant General Frederick C. Weyand, who commanded the forces around Saigon, received permission from MACV Commander General William Westmoreland to deploy his troops to meet the expected enemy action. The South Vietnamese government shortened the traditional Tet holiday furlough, and U.S. forces across Vietnam readied for the coming battle.

Even the press understood something was about to happen. "For months any journalist with decent sources was expecting something big at Tet," wrote Don North of ABC News. General Weyand gave off-the-record briefings detailing his preparations for the attacks. Three days before the Tet Offensive began the Washington Post noted that "the Communists appear to be preparing for a major push in their winter-spring offensive." And due to a command and control error that launched a number of enemy attacks a day early, all U.S. forces were already on alert status by the time the main thrust arrived. If anyone should have been surprised it was the Viet Cong.

Link (http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/09/027093.php)

James Robbins was on C-Span last night talking about the book, and took some questions from the audience regarding today's current affairs. Very interesting and a book I plan to pick up soon.

03-06-2011, 02:34 PM
Link (http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/09/027093.php)

James Robbins was on C-Span last night talking about the book, and took some questions from the audience regarding today's current affairs. Very interesting and a book I plan to pick up soon.

That does look interesting I may read that myself, there is another book out there I want to read written by a KGB agent who was active during the 60s and 70s that I want to read. I have heard him interviewed twice but was out in the field working and should have stopped and written his name down and the title of the book, now I have to find it.:(